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Monday, June 17, 2024

Host communities should have shares in Dangote refinery -Bode George

Former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olabode George, has advised President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, to ensure members of the refinery’s host communities benefit as shareholders.

George, in a statement on Monday in Lagos, urged Dangote to learn from the mistakes made by companies in the Niger Delta and not allow same to happen in the Ibeju-Lekki/Epe axis of Lagos State, which hosts his refinery and petrochemical projects.

According to him, making communities part owners will reflect inclusivity.

George, while congratulating Dangote for his investment in Lekki/Epe through his various projects in the axis , described Dangote as a businessman and patriot.

He said that Dangote had through his achievements and businesses projected Nigeria’s image globally.

“I want to congratulate Alhaji Aliko Dangote. All Nigerians should be proud of him. But, let me advise him: What happened in the oil-rich Niger Delta should be avoided in Lagos.

“I was told he is helping the indigenes of that axis by giving scholarships. This is commendable.

“He needs to go further by ensuring that host communities housing the massive refinery project benefit as shareholders, which would reflect their inclusivity as part owners.

“The project is so massive and is eternal that the indigenes of the communities deserve more than employments and trainings,” George said.

According to him, it is through equity holding in the company that the people can truly have a sense of inclusiveness.

He said by this, the people would know that their inheritance had not been taken away from them for nothing.

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He said: “Being a life -time business, pollution may soon start and the communities stand to lose from the degradation which the operations of the refinery would impact on the people of the communities in years ahead as the company continues in business.

“This may result in the pollution of their water which will, in turn, affect their fishing activities.

“The part ownership in the refinery is the only way to assuage the pains of indigenes of the host communities for the loss of their inheritances,” he said.

George said that scholarships, training and other empowerment initiatives were good move.

The PDP elder,however,said that host communities should be fully involved in the business .

He said that only part- ownership of the refinery would make a lot of sense in terms of inclusiveness.

“That project is a very massive one, and is eternal, we are talking about the effect of the environmental degradation of the company’s operations which will be felt by the communities for several years by generations of people of the communities.

“It is pertinent to accord the people of Epe and Ibeju-Lekki part ownership of the company.

“I am looking at 0.1 per cent for Epe and same for Ibeju-Lekki. It can even be higher than this ratio, depending on the magnanimity of Alhaji Dangote and his team.

“I am offering this patriotic advice because it is not only the immediate host communities within Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area that would be affected by the environmental impact of the refinery operations,” he said.

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He said that the impact of the refinery would be felt by coastal communities in Epe Local Government Area.

According to him ,several communities beyond Ibeju-Lekki will be affected due to the magnitude of the refinery operations.

“For a massive refinery worth close to $20 billion and which is expected to produce 650,000 barrels of petroleum daily, one can only imagine the impact of environmental degradation that would be unleashed on the host communities.

“So, this fractional percentage in terms of equity holding would be beneficial to the communities, whose commercial activities would be affected by the operations of the refinery,” George said. (NAN)

Adeyemi Adeleye
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